The Massachusetts Minutemen (25-11) and Stanford Cardinal (24-11) will meet up in the NIT semifinals on Tuesday night inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Stanford Cardinal 

The Stanford Cardinal are 2.5-point favorites against the UMass Minutemen on Tuesday night in the NIT semifinals

Massachusetts returns to the NIT Final Four for the first time since 2008 and will look to improve upon its 13-12 all-time record in the event.  “We’re excited to go to New York City,” commented Minutemen head coach Derek Kellogg.  “I think the guys want to play for the seniors.”  The Minutemen will be playing their 23rd game inside tonight’s venue, posting a 9-13 record in the previous 22 tries.  Offensively, the team is averaging 86.0 points per game and shooting 44.3 percent over the last six games.  Massachusetts is 0-6 ATS on a neutral court as an underdog of three points or less in its last six opportunities.

The Minutemen has played all three of their games on the road in the tournament, including a 72-70 win over the Drexel Dragons as 7.5-point underdogs.  Massachusetts has four starters averaging in double figures, with Brooklyn native Chaz Williams leading the way in scoring 16.9 points per game.  He’s upped his performance in the NIT, averaging 22.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in three games.  These two teams have met four times, splitting the meetings, with tonight’s underdog winning the last two in 1994-95 and 1995-96.

Stanford will be making its second appearance of the season inside the Garden, as it becomes just the fourth team to play inside the historical site in the Preseason and Postseason NIT during the same season.  The Cardinal are playing arguably their best basketball of the season, picking up three home wins to reach this point, including a blowout 84-56 victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack as six-point favorites last week.  Stanford is 0-2 ATS this season when playing on five or six days rest.

The Cardinal are 33-20 all-time in 23 postseason appearances, including a 10-4 mark in six NIT runs.  Stanford is 9-4 all-time inside Madison Square Garden, which dates all the way back to a game versus Long Island in 1936.  Freshman guard Chasson Randle is the player to watch offensively, leading the team in scoring 13.9 points per game.    His current scoring average ranks third all-time in school history for a first-year player.

Bettors will likely back the Cardinal due to their 4-1 ATS mark as a favorite of 6.5 points or less, while the Minutemen are 5-12 ATS as an underdog on a neutral floor.

Recommendation: Stanford Cardinal -2.5

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